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Rising temperatures can kill Texas prisoners. Corrections ignored that, says federal judge

A federal judge in Houston ordered a geriatric prison in Texas to help inmates overcome extreme heat and rising summer temperatures, referencing climate change in a groundbreaking ruling this week. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison deemed it cruel and unusual that state corrections are aware of dangerous and lethal heat risks – at least 23 men in Texas prisons have died from the heat in the last 20 years – yet have failed to impose safeguards.

Federal judge orders air conditioning installed in Texas prison in response to prisoners’ lawsuit

In an amazing and quite shocking turn of events, federal Judge Keith P. Ellison from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, has ORDERED the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack Unit, located in Navasota, Texas. The prison agency has 180 days to comply. Most of this ongoing struggle for human rights has been published right here in the San Francisco Bay View, but please allow me to refresh your memory.

Message from the youth: Abolish slavery

As was once said to me by a fellow Muslim brother when I embraced Islam, “If you can take that same intensity that was applied to gangbanging and apply it to Islam, you will become a great Muslim.” Well, it’s the same for this fight we have on our hands induced by this modern day slavery in Texas. NOW, people, is the time to break these chains. We as a people who are aware must spread the word to the unaware and awaken society on what’s taking place in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Exploited, abused, neglected: Mental illness and solitary confinement in Texas prisons

Imagine spending 23 hours each day alone in a 6-by-9-foot space. Crowd into it a toilet-sink combo, rusty iron set of bunk beds and overhead lockers, layers of peeling paint in multiple colors, showing the years of neglect, black mold, roaches, rats, along with spiders and bugs I can’t even identify – then you’ll have some idea of what home looks like to many people here in Texas’ Eastham Unit.

‘13th’ and the culture of surplus punishment

Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.

Fight Toxic Prisons National Convergence is in Texas this June

In its mission to challenge the prison systems that are putting prisoners and surrounding communities and ecosystems at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons is taking its second annual convergence to Texas this year. In Denton and Ft. Worth on June 2-5, the gathering of activists from around the country will feature speakers, panels, workshops, protests and cultural activities, including an art show and hip-hop performances.

End prison slavery in Texas now! Part II: Class consciousness and international solidarity

Minister Nyle Fort starts us off with a strong quote. I am going to expand his analysis by highlighting the historical fact that slavery in the United States was and is still directly tied to capitalism! So in order for us to combat and abolish legalized slavery in Amerika we must focus our attention on dismantling the system which has allowed this institution of modern prison slavery to proliferate.

From media cutoffs to lockdown, tracing the fallout from the U.S. prison strike

Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.

Help prisoners break the ban on Bay View

Censorship of the Bay View around the country appears to have become a habit, a way to kill the paper once and for all. We have physical evidence now that the major media can report on prison strikes and not be censored. If you are a lawyer, read these three protests from prisoners who want and need and deserve their papers and help if you can. If you are a prisoner who hasn’t received your paper, do some brainstorming with your comrades. Make a way out of no way – and tell us when you succeed.

Extreme vetting: Apply it to police

I’ve been following the U.S. presidential debates very closely. As a Black man who also happens to be a Muslim with a mother who was originally from the Middle East, I am intrigued by this term “extreme vetting,” which is frequently used by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Maybe extreme vetting needs to be applied to the internal threat posed from rogue police.

Nationwide epidemic of suicide in solitary: Solitary confinement is murder!

This year at Holman in Atmore, Alabama, there have been five suicides in its segregation unit – more suicides or homicides than in its population. The latest was a mentally ill young man in his 20s. The conditions in the Administrative Segregation housing wings at the H.H. Coffield Unit located at Tennessee Colony, Texas are horrible, and these conditions have driven prisoners to suicide, approximately 13 deaths just this year! We need the broadest exposure of this horrifying trend.

Your tax dollars make Ameri­ca a nation of 8 million slaves

The United States of America is presently home to 2 million active slaves and approximately 6 million document­ed as slaves for future use. You ask how the land of the free can be home to some 8 million slaves and why Americans know noth­ing about it? The answer is that Congress enacted the 13th Amendment in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It abolished slavery throughout the country but it al­lows all states to enslave all persons convicted of a crime.

Hard lessons in the struggle to end prison slavery

These prison profiteers and imperialist oppressors aren’t feeling the recent show of power and solidarity among prisoners throughout AmeriKKKa. In the same manner, the FBI’s COINTELPRO sought to thwart the emergence of a Black Messiah, mass incarceration in Amerika seeks to sabotage the emergence of any movement which challenges the capitalist-imperialist plan to lock up, exploit, disenfranchise, poison and in some cases even kill the poorest cross-section of Amerikan society.

Amend 13!

This is a public notice to all freedom fighters, activists and community leaders: SLAVERY IS NOT DEAD! Did the 13th Amendment abolish slavery? Ask anyone in the United States this question and they will answer most emphatically: Yes, of course it did. If you, the person reading this article and call to action, believe this as well, please allow me to inform you: You are wrong! Slavery is not dead! Rather than abolish slavery, the 13th Amendment LEGALIZED it!

Exposing toxic work conditions inside Texas Prisons

Environmental injustices are forced upon people of color and disadvantaged minorities. This is a fact and not a subjective feeling or statement. Prison officials and ACA inspectors attempt to cover up and downplay the fact that numerous Texas prisons have contaminated water supplies and Texas Correctional Industries employees force pri­soners to work in toxic environments. Does anyone think the U.S. government will intercede on our behalf?

The movement inside Texas prisons will not be complete until the sisters join

I spend countless hours reading and scanning alternative newspapers, journals and magazines that provide a platform for prisoners who write. I don’t see many revolutionary essays or articles being written by female Texas prisoners. I know you all can’t be content with the conditions you are being housed under, and I know for a fact you are not being given the dignity and respect you deserve. So I must ask: “Why aren’t we hearing from you?”

Prisoners file federal lawsuit to end prison slavery in Texas

On March 7, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love issued an order in the federal civil lawsuit brought by 89 prisoners housed at the Coffield Unit located in Tennessee Colony, Texas. The lawsuit challenges the fraudulent good time and work time credit scheme the state uses to defraud prisoners of their “work product” and exploit them in order to enrich the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, as well as their slave industries known as TCI, or Texas Correctional Industries.

End prison slavery in Texas now!

In Texas we know that we are being exploited, mistreated, degraded and abused. Many prisoners in Texas are content with the modern day slave plantation system, which is managed and operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. However, many prisoners are not content; in fact they are frustrated and angry. The strategies utilized by prisoners in other states that have similar conditions to Texas don’t necessarily apply here.

Prison officials, ACA inspectors ignore contaminated water in Texas prisons

In the September 2015 edition of Prison Legal News, Panagioti Tsolkas of the newly formed Prison Ecology Project wrote a scathing article that shed light on a serious problem at a prison located in Navasota, Texas. Dangerous levels of arsenic have been found at the Wallace Pack Unit. “How could the American Correctional Association continue to give Wallace Pack Unit passing marks and rave reviews if the drinking water is contaminated with poison?”

Messing with Major

Major George Tillery is a Pennsylvania lifer, 65, who confronted SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s deteriorating health. Prison authorities retaliated against Major Tillery – repeatedly ransacked his cell and denied him medical treatment for seeking medical assistance for Mumia and other prisoners. Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then falsely charged with drug possession, disciplined and given six months in “the hole.”